Our Community Investment Process

Our unique Community Investment Process allows United Way to invest in the most pressing and complex human and social needs facing our community. Each year, we accept applications for funding in one of three priority areas: Poverty To Possibility, Strong Communities and All That Kids Can Be. Applications are evaluated by our panel of dedicated volunteers to ensure that our donors contributions are invested where they can create the greatest impact.

Our Priorities

United Way Niagara works locally to raise funds and invest in programming that improves lives in our community.

Our goal is to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing collective action. What does that mean? United Way invests funds into pre-determined priority areas that were deemed to have the most need nationally. We invest in solutions to real, local social problems.

All That Kids Can Be

United Way invests in programs that encourage children and youth to reach their full potential by:

  • Increasing connectedness
  • Increasing engagement in learning, and
  • Increasing emotional and physical wellbeing

To learn more about United Way’s investments, refer to the Priority Area Framework.

Poverty To Possibility

United Way invests in programs that meet basic human needs and move people out of poverty by:

  • Increasing employment and financial security,

  • Increasing food security, and

  • Increasing housing stability.

To learn more about United Way’s investments, refer to the Priority Area Framework.

Strong Communities

United Way invests in programs that create safe and inclusive communities with vulnerable adults by:

  • Increasing connections to supports,
  • Increasing neighbourhood and community engagement, and
  • Increasing personal wellbeing and safety.

To learn more about United Way’s investments, refer to the Priority Area Framework.

Funded Partners

  • Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Society of Canada
  • Attachment and Trauma Centre for Healing (ATTCH) Niagara
  • Autism Ontario – Niagara Region Chapter

  • Bethlehem Housing and Support Services
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Niagara Falls
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of North & West Niagara
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Niagara

  • Boys & Girls Club of Niagara

  • Bridges Community Health Centre

  • Canadian Mental Health Association of Niagara

  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
  • Casa El Norte, Fort Erie
  • Centre de Santé Communautaire
  • Community Care of St. Catharines & Thorold

  • Community Care of West Niagara
  • Community Living Grimsby, Lincoln & West Lincoln

  • Community Living Port Colborne/Wainfleet
  • Community Support Service of Niagara Region
  • Cyber Seniors

  • Developmental Services Ontario Client Support

  • Distress Centre Niagara

  • Epilepsy Niagara

  • Faith Welland Outreach

  • Family Counselling Centre Niagara

  • Family Mental Health Support Network of Niagara

  • Feeding Fort Erie

  • Folk Arts Council of St. Catharines
  • Fort Erie Multicultural Centre
  • Gateway Residential Services

  • Gillian’s Place
  • GROW Community Food Literacy Centre
  • Heartland Forest Nature Experience
  • Hospice Niagara

  • Ina Grafton Gage Village
  • Links for Greener Learning
  • Mainstream
  • March of Dimes Canada
  • Meals on Wheels

  • Meals on Wheels Niagara Falls

  • Meals on Wheels Port Colborne

  • Niagara Centre for Independent Living

  • Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Niagara Food Recovery Movement

  • Niagara Nutrition Partners

  • Niagara Region Homeless Outreach

  • Niagara Region Public Health

  • Niagara Region Seniors Community Programs
  • Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre (CARSA Inc.)

  • Niagara Regional Learning Centre

  • Niagara Women’s Enterprise Centre

  • Niagara Worship Center

  • Ontario Parents Advocating for Children with Cancer
  • Open Arms Mission

  • Port Cares

  • Positive Living Niagara

  • Project Share
  • Saint Vincent de Paul – St. Alfred Conference

  • Salvation Army Fort Erie

  • Segue Clinic

  • Silver Spire United Church
  • Southridge Community Church – Port Colborne
  • St. James & St. Brendan Anglican Church

  • Start Me Up Niagara

  • Strive Niagara

  • The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines
  • The FORT

  • The Governing Council of The Salvation Army
  • The Hope Centre
  • The RAFT

  • Victim Services Niagara

  • West Lincoln Community Care
  • West Niagara Palliative Care Services (Rose Cottage)

  • Westview Centre4Women

  • Women’s Place of South Niagara

  • YMCA of Niagara

  • Young Carer’s Initiative

  • YWCA Niagara Region


Explore some of our most frequently asked questions, contact us here if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for.

In today’s complex world, it often takes more than just one person, agency or program to make a big and lasting difference in people’s lives. United Way brings together social service agencies, business, government, labour, schools, institutions and citizens to address the immediate needs of our community and to create long-term change.

United Way utilizes a Community Investment Process to allocate funds to programs and services that will achieve the greatest results and impact. A team of dedicated panel volunteers review funding applications and recommend funding investments based on a priority area framework evaluation. Funds are invested in Niagara’s programs and services through a three-year funding commitment and evaluated annually to ensure our donor’s dollars are achieving the intended outcomes.

In order to be eligible for United Way funding, an organization must be non-profit, charitable and have a clearly stated purpose and function within the social and human services sector. The organization must:

  • Be incorporated and registered as a charitable organization under the Canada Income Tax Act;
  • Have a voluntary Board of Directors;
    Operate programming in the human or social services sector that does not duplicate an existing program; and
  • Operate in the Niagara Region;

United Way cannot fund mandated government services; programs in the arts, culture, heritage or the environment; individual, religious or political activities. United Way does not fund capital program costs or related expenses.

Agencies are evaluated on program and organizational standards. The organization must demonstrate that the program/service they are requesting funding for meets a need in the community, that their proposed program/service is effective in responding to said need, and whether they are achieving desired outcomes for those being served and the community as a whole. The organization must also demonstrate appropriate practices around organizational capacity, management and financial accountability.

Many people want to help their community but are unsure at times where to donate their gifts of treasure, talent and time. United Way continues to be a leader in identifying, addressing and investing in solutions that move our community forward, drive collaboration and maximize impact. When you give to United Way, you are achieving greater impact by combining your support with others – your gift supports the combined efforts of a network of programs that provide people comprehensive care where and when it’s needed most.

Our Community Investment Process is a multi-year process that provides agencies a funding commitment for three years. This ensures the programs have the capacity, stability and time to achieve outcomes. Programs are evaluated annually and after three years of funding, an agency must re-apply.

New programs, long term programs and innovative programs are invested in all the time as we aim to have the greatest impact on our community’s evolving needs.

While United Way Niagara is the largest funder of social and human services in Niagara next to government, we simply aren’t able to fully fund an agency for all their initiatives. Agencies often are required to conduct their own fundraising campaigns, events and initiatives to complement United Way funding. Our funding partners work alongside our Fall Campaign to address their unique needs.

Any donation made to United Way Niagara will be allocated according to the wishes of the donor. This includes designating donations to a specific community, charitable agency or program. An undesignated gift takes advantage of United Way’s thorough, research-based Community Investment Process and program investment which ensures your gift supports those most in need. This allows you to help the most people and do the most good for our entire community.


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